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CCTV footage ‘doesn’t show Thika tycoon’s kidnap’


Police have disclosed that a review of CCTV footage on the day Thika-based trader Julius Gitau claims he was abducted by six gunmen revealed no such incident.

Mr Julius Gitau, 44, has been summoned to record a statement because his purported abduction on September 21 outside the Kenya Revenue Authority offices in Thika Town was never captured by CCTV surveillance cameras.

Thika West deputy county commissioner Mathioya Mbogo said Mr Gitau, who resurfaced with the abduction claim after going missing for 75 days, will be required to explain to the sub-county security committee about the crime that seems not to have occurred.

Mr Mbogo said footage of the surveillance cameras that day between 9.30am and 10am, when Mr Gitau claimed he was seized by the gunmen, does not even show his vehicle in the vicinity.

 “I instructed the relevant department of our security committee to expedite review of the CCTV cameras in the area and the result was negative incident of interest between 9.30am and 10am, being the time cited as when the abduction occurred. Not even his vehicle, which he claims was the centre of abduction, is captured on that road the whole day,” Mr Mbogo told the Nation.

Close shave

 The only odd thing that was captured on that date at around 11:28am was a male motorist cursing a boda boda rider after a close shave. The altercation caused a slight traffic jam that immediately cleared after the two sped off, he noted.

 “I do not want to appear to be dismissing his story about his broad daylight encounter with six armed kidnappers on a Thika busy street…I do not also want to appear to be in a tussle with him, where he says he was kidnapped, and on the strength of CCTV footages review whose findings dismiss his claim. He was not kidnapped. The best way forward is for him to record an official report so that he can help us investigate the matter,” Mr Mbogo said.

Guards around the scene as well as outside Blue Post Hotel, where the trader claimed he was removed from his lorry and bundled into the gunmen’s car,  told the Nation they could not have missed such a dramatic incident. “Muggings are common in this area, we witness them happening but we haven’t heard or seen a case involving gunmen,” said a guard at the Kenya Revenue Authority offices.

Mr Gitau claimed he found out his captors had held him at Kamwangi in Gatundu North on the day they released him, but local security officials have dismissed the narrative, saying such an incident could not happen in such a small village without word reaching them.

Stage-managed

Police want to question the trader to find out whether his disappearance was stage-managed. And whether the incident had anything to do with poor business and his debts.

Detectives are following leads that he attempted to bail himself out of the cash crunch using proceeds from his rental houses as well as an alleged plot to manipulate his Sh46 million life insurance cover.

Police suspect there could have been an attempt to claim the insurance,  which was renewed three days after his reported disappearance. However,  the plan fell apart after it emerged that compensation would only be made after proof of death or permanent disability.

Provide evidence

If Mr Gitau fails to provide evidence that he was in the hands of kidnappers, he is likely to be charged with giving false information to the police and spreading public fear and despondency.

Mr Mbogo noted that the security committee took the allegations made by Mr Gitau on December 6 very seriously and since then detectives have been investigating the matter.

He said the team reported to him on Sunday that the review of CCTV footages as well as comparative notes with several security stakeholders had found that nothing of the sort happened.

Mr Mbogo said the area that Mr Gitau claims to have encountered the armed kidnappers has nine banks that at the time were under guard by 18 armed police officers. Given the area has busy traffic,  his claim was classified as “of high interest.”

Mr Gitau had been reported missing at Ndururumo police patrol base at around 4pm on September 21.

The report was filed at a station that is outside the suspected crime scene.